After following up a 21-point fourth quarter comeback at James Madison with a dominating 44-point win over Delaware on Sunday, the Maryland women’s basketball team fell to No. 9 in the country in the AP top-25 poll released Monday.
The Terps’ struggles offensively in a loss to now-No. 5 South Carolina carried over to the first three quarters in their first road game against the Dukes. They shot just 35.6 percent from the floor before a 29-11 run in the final period, capped-off by guard Ashley Owusu’s game-winning layup to seal the victory.
Owusu has been Maryland’s most consistent player so far and her last two showings earned her Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors, the first weekly award of her college career. She averaged 13 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in her team’s last two wins and has stepped up with guard Channise Lewis sidelined with a torn meniscus.
On the season, Owusu leads the Terps in scoring and passing, averaging 15.3 points and 5.3 assists per game. She also sports the second best assist/turnover ratio in the conference at 4.2 and her 48.9 shooting percentage is 10th in the conference.
Forward Shakira Austin rebounded from a poor performance against the Gamecocks to help lead the fourth-quarter charge against James Madison with 13 points on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting in the last frame. Her breakout offensive outing, coupled with forward Blair Watson’s three-point shooting, earned them both a spot in the starting lineup against the Blue Hens.
The new starting five, coach Brenda Frese’s first lineup change of the season, paid dividends as Maryland jumped out to a 20-4 lead early and never looked back. In a 57.8 percent shooting performance for the Terps, guard Taylor Mikesell, who also struggled offensively in the two games prior, found her stroke again and led the way with 23 points — tying a career high — and five triples.
Maryland looks to build on its strong offensive performance against Delaware in its Wednesday night matchup against George Washington before playing Quinnipiac on Sunday.